5 Reasons to Rethink “Having It All” (Response to “Why PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Can’t Have It All”)

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Inspiration, Leadership, Vulnerability | 2 comments

In her response to David Bradley’s question about work-life balance (see interview here), PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi made some basic assumptions that I respectfully suggest we consider a little more deeply, before anyone takes as fact her statement that women “can’t have it all”. 1. Somewhere, somebody, actually does “have it all”. Who has such magical powers that their choices in life do not also, always involve sacrifice? It is a ridiculous expectation for any human being, why single out women as a specific gender incapable of it?  No one can “have it all” – doesn’t matter who they are, what they do for a living, how much money they make or …least of all…whether they are male or female. 2. “Having it all” means the same thing to everyone, or even to the same person throughout a lifetime.    At 43, I am still figuring out what success means to me. I know a lot more than I used to, though, thanks to a lot of trial and error.  Trial and error is, in fact, the only way to figure out what works for you. Taking someone else’s experiences as fact for yourself may not be the best thing for you, because you are not them. It’s a tragedy if a young person hears from a role model that they can’t “have it all” and therefore opts to limit their life and career experiences before they even know what “having it all” means to them.  3. Sacrifice is bad. Sacrifices are just choices, opportunities to move closer to your ideal as you figure it out. Some men sacrifice career advancement in order to have more time for their hobbies.  Some women find themselves on the “fast track” because they love what they do and work is their passion. Whatever! It’s your life, and at anytime you can make a different choice anyway – so what’s there to be afraid of?  Stop shying away from making contributions to the world because you’re afraid of having to make a sacrifice. In fact, don’t make choices based on what you are afraid of …period. 4.  If your top priority isn’t work, you can’t be successful. For me –  wanting to be a good partner and mother at home, and a good contributor at work creates a kind of balancing tension that actually makes me better all around. At work, for example, the desire to be home by 5:30 every night is an extremely focusing force. I am much better at knowing what needs to get done and finding the most efficient way to get it done (including mentoring and empowering my team) than I was before parenthood. On the other side, if...

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Retailers Competing with Amazon: Lowe’s Foods

Posted by on Jul 12, 2014 in Amazon, innovation, Leadership, Retail Disruption, Strategy, Vulnerability, Walmart | 0 comments

Found this example of a brick & mortar retailer trying to do what Amazon & Walmart are doing – playing to their advantages, in this case – the fact that they have a physical, multi-sensory experience to offer and real humans to facilitate it. I’m not 100% certain it will translate into higher Share of Wallet, but their approach is on the right track … and that’s the key, when you are willing to to risk failure – you’ll try more things – and you’ll find success faster. Retailers Compete with Amazon: Lowe’s Foods This is a follow up datapoint to two previous posts: Amazon vs. All Other Retailers: Is It Really An Unfair Fight?   and   WMT vs. Amazon: War as a Catalyst for Innovation....

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WMT vs. AMZN: War As a Catalyst for Innovation & The Implications for Grocery Retail

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Amazon, Digital Coupon, Digital Strategy, Loyalty, Online Grocery, Retail Disruption, Strategy, Vulnerability, Walmart | 0 comments

War has always been a great catalyst for technical innovation. And in this particular war, a lot of reinvention is happening as two of the biggest players in the competition for consumer share of wallet are duking it out, big time.  Great rivalries also redefine what is possible, break records, change the rules of the game. See these two recent events:   1. Walmart Uses Rivals’ Discounts to Fuel New Loyalty Program  This is brilliant because: Only Wal-Mart can do it, it builds off of a core strategic advantage…the low prices they are able to secure from suppliers due to their size/volume. It’s a way for them to capture real time pricing info of competitors quickly and efficiently (something AMZN has been doing for a while, and built upon further with their app below). It’s a simple value proposition that naturally evolves into a new level of relationship with their customers…building their digital engagement to higher levels. FYI – Most brick & mortar retailers see digital customer engagement between 5-10% – considering both initial opt-in and ongoing frequency of engagement. As a defensive tactic against the coming ecommerce evolution, all retailers need to be strategizing about how to improve that metric now. Also, for your info, just promising “coupons” has already been tried, by almost everyone and has strong but limited appeal. To get bigger, you must thing broader – as WMT has done here. 2. Amazon just unveiled a new smartphone called the Fire Phone with a Built-In Showrooming App.  If you throw out,for the sake of argument, whether the phone itself is going to be successful or not – the move to include a built-in showrooming app is a critically strategic piece of information for us in this space and the approach is brilliant because: Only Amazon can do it, it builds off of a core strategic advantage…the ability to be everywhere, carry everything and adjust its price “on the fly” based on current price/market information (something brick & mortar stores are going to have to figure out how to do, if they want to combat showrooming attrition). It’s a simple consumer value proposition that is also, a way “into a new level of relationship with their customers…building their TACTICAL, ON-SITE engagement to new levels. If they can get 8-10% of their digital customers to use the showrooming app, the would be huge…an excellent example of usurping a competitor’s advantage to become your own. But what’s important is not the specifics of what these two companies are doing, what’s more important is HOW THEY ARE PLAYING. These are NOT “play nice” moves, and if you – or your team – are hesitating to take action because the path is not clear… let me...

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Data “Toxic” To Retailers (Business Insider)

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Wow, what a headline. The proverbial double-bind, which I happen to have a lot of experience with, comes to mind here… if you don’t collect data and use it effectively to personalize your service to consumers and keep it absolutely safe… you’re toast.  If you do, you’re a target. Tough world out there for marketers these days. Data “Toxic” To Retailers (Business...

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Almost Half of US Consumers Emotionally Indifferent to Brands

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Brand Purpose, Brand Value, CPG, Digital Strategy, innovation, Learning, Loyalty, Shopper Marketing | 0 comments

This headline caught my attention. As it should catch the attention of any of us who are paid to build, protect and develop brand value. We should not dismiss this, like we dismiss it when consumers say they think products should cost less and that they eat less junk food than we know they do. We should not dismiss it, because the green statistics are signs of things that have been – for US marketers – not of things to come. And we need to understand why, and evolve and adjust our not just our marketing strategy…but our product development and entire go-to-market approach. People grow apart for valid reasons. And consumers and brands are growing apart. Or – more precisely – consumers are maturing and doing grown up things, and we marketers are still loitering around the convenient stores, drinking suicides and trying to get better at Asteroids. That consumers are maturing, thanks to increased access to information and a ton more choices, is not a tragedy! Rather, it is the opportunity of a lifetime – for all of us. Empowered, informed consumers create the context we’ve all been dreaming of…a chance to have a deeper, more meaningful, sustainable, efficient and longer lasting consumer relationship (which is also, by the way, the real definition of “brand loyalty”) . Susan O’Neal Gear has over 20 years of experience at the intersection of consumers, marketing and technology. Passionate about all aspects of a consumer’s relationship with brands and retailers, we’re spending the next year looking for new, groundbreaking thought leadership – if not disruptive solutions – with the potential to redefine the parameters of consumer loyalty. If you also want to see some game changing happen -then follow Upstream Insight, contribute your voice, share this post…do...

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